‘Build a Nagaland of your dreams’: Governor Ravi’s message to Nagas

Governor RN Ravi, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio with their wives and Dr SC Jamir during the unveiling ceremony at Raj Bhavan Kohima on December 1. (Photo Courtesy: PRO to Governor)

Governor RN Ravi, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio with their wives and Dr SC Jamir during the unveiling ceremony at Raj Bhavan Kohima on December 1. (Photo Courtesy: PRO to Governor)

Kohima, December 1 (MExN): On the occasion of the 58th Statehood Day, Nagaland Governor RN Ravi urged Naga people to commit themselves to “building a Nagaland of their dreams.”

Unveiling the bust of Dr Imkongliba Ao, President of Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) at the Raj Bhavan Kohima on Tuesday, Ravi paid rich tributes to the founding fathers– the leaders of the NPC and countless Nagas whose blood, sweat and sacrifices created the State of Nagaland.

“People of Nagaland shall always remember them with utmost gratitude,” Ravi said.

The Governor also acknowledged Padma Bhusan Dr SC Jamir, the only surviving NPC member, who was present at the programme, for “his decisive role at a crucial time in shaping the State,” and expressed gratitude to other members of the NPC. 

“I tell their family members that your fathers and grand-fathers were the heroes and will always remain heroes for the people of Nagaland and the Country,” Ravi maintained. 

Stating that the Naga people have been a freedom loving people who have cherished their freedom from interference in their way of life and fiercely resisted any encroachment on this freedom, Ravi said that  for the Naga people, their traditions, cultures, customs and customary institutions have always been dear and close to their heart.

He said that when the British were leaving and birth of free Union of India was imminent; Nagas raised their concerns and insisted for convincing safeguards against interference in their way of life.

“While majority Nagas continued to pursue political campaign for more convincing safeguards under the Constitution of India, some radical leaders articulated their position in extreme terms of independence and adopted violent means to achieve it which pushed Naga Hills into widespread bloodshed,” Ravi said.

In the midst of such a predicament, he said, farsighted Naga leaders formed the NPC and “reached out to Nagas beyond the Naga Hills District and mobilized them to save the Nagas from senseless bloody violence and help them shape their political future.”

He said that the NPC leaders “facing extreme threats to their life took initiatives even to reach out to the radicals to shun the self-destructive path of violence and be a partner in the peaceful democratic enterprise to decide the future of Naga people,” and eventually, after over three years of socio-political churning, “the free-will of the Naga Society emerged in the form of a 16 Point Memorandum which was the basis of their political negotiation with the Government of India on the political future of Nagas.”

“They were not only successful in crystallising the free-will of the Naga people through wider democratic participation of all the tribes but also through their skilful political negotiation with Government of India they got what could have been otherwise unthinkable. They created a full-fledged State by uniting the Nagas of Assam and NEFA with extraordinary constitutional safeguards against any interference in their way of life, their customs, traditions, system of justice, their religion, their land and resources,” he added.

Ravi maintained that “The birth of Nagaland State is triumph of the politics of peace over politics of violence,” while adding that “What the Naga leaders achieved through democratic process, violence could never and will never be able to do so.”

He however said that the “glorious achievement of the Founding Fathers have been eclipsed” and said that “the people of Nagaland have not been able to fully enjoy the fruits of Nagaland State and their full rights and privileges as citizens of the Union of India.”

“Till today the dream of the Founding Fathers for enduring peace remains elusive to the people of Nagaland. Some people, mostly from outside the State, imbued with a perverse political ideology, have been peddling preposterous lies and are standing as a roadblock to the enduring peace in Nagaland,” Ravi said, while asserting that Nagaland State “is and shall remain an integral part of the Union of India.”

“Nagaland state is not a temporary arrangement. It is an enduring entity and Article 371-A of the Indian Constitution is a sacrosanct commitment to the people of Nagaland,” the Governor underscored.

Further, he said that a “befitting tribute to the Founding Fathers” would be to “liberate our State from the vice-like grips of those vested interests who have destroyed two generations of the people of Nagaland.”

For this, he called on the people to “rise above divisive, violent politics and embrace unity, peace and prosperity for the better future of our children and generations to come,” and urged the people of Nagaland to renew their sense of gratitude to the founding fathers and commit to building a Nagaland of their dreams.